The Minister of Health and Child Care Dr Pagwesese David Parirenyatwa has declared Gweru water unsafe for drinking. He made the announcement yesterday when he visited Gweru Provincial Hospital, the treatment camps and Mkoba Polyclinic in Gweru.
“To date, 200 patients are admitted at Gweru Provincial Hospital and some are being treated and monitored at Mkoba1 and Mkoba Polyclinic. The outbreak is said to have been caused by a burst sewage pipe that has contaminated the city’s drinking water making it unsafe for consumption. Boreholes around Mkoba have also been deemed unsafe and thus have been de-commissioned as well” Minister Parirenyatwa said.
Indications are that the bacteria started early July when the first case of diarrhea was noted. The bacterial infection was dictated on the 6th of August. The Provincial Medical Director of Midlands Province Dr Simon Nyadundu said, tests done indicate that the Typhoid infection has prevailed in the city.
“This deadly infection has since been prevalent in the Midlands City of Gweru affecting a number of parts in Mkoba and five deaths have been recorded to date,” Dr Nyadundu said.
Minister Parirenyatwa has since set up pre-cautionary measures that will diffuse the spread of the infection. He urged all residents to take all water with suspicion and he also said, the washing of hands after visiting the toilet and food handling should be made a priority.
“Residents are urged to use water disinfectant measures to treat their water before consumption. These include, boiling water, applying water guard to disinfect water or applying aqua tablets. The bousery system will be set to help the residents with adequate drinking water,” he said.
The Minister has also urged the citizens of Gweru to intensify health and hygiene. A task force team which will monitor and rectify root of infection will be put in place. Health experts are set to carry out educational awareness in and around the city.
The affected areas are Mkoba 18, 15 and 20.
Typhoid is a bacterial infection caused by Salmonella Typhi. The bacteria are spread through the consumption of contaminated food and drinking water. The bacteria are usually prevalent in areas where there are shortages of water and hand washing is at a minimal. Symptoms are fever, rash, abdominal pain and weakness. The symptoms, which can start showing after 6 – 30 days of infection, can be fatal if not treated early as they can lead to heart failure.